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Road to the NHL Draft: Julius Honka

By John Vogl

Julius Honka

Position: Defenseman

Junior team: Swift Current (WHL)

Born: Jyvaskyla, Finland

Measurables: 5-foot-7, 180 pounds

2013-14 stats: 62 games, 16 goals, 40 assists, 56 points

Central Scouting rank: No. 11 (North America)

Lowdown: All it took was one game for Honka to know he belonged in North America. The on-ice decision making is done a lot quicker here than on the larger rinks in Europe, and the fast-thinking Honka knew his skills would translate well during his draft year. He was right.

The free-wheeling, slick-passing defenseman showed he could be a magician in traffic or with open ice. He’s calm with the puck, which makes him a dependable quarterback on the power play. He sees plays develop before his teammates do, allowing them to get great scoring chances. Not surprisingly, he patterns his game after Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson.

It’s clear where Honka’s weakness is – his size. Shorter blue-liners can struggle for position while defending in front. Typical of smaller prospects, his height listings fluctuate from Central Scouting’s 5-foot-7 to Swift Current’s 5-11.

They said it: “Let’s just say that when you go to a game and you see his name in the lineup, you’re excited to watch the game because he’s got about four or five different gears. You think he’s just skating normally and he puts it in another gear, then another gear. Excellent vision and on-ice awareness. He reads the play so well sometimes he’s two or three steps ahead of his own teammates.” – Peter Sullivan, NHL Central Scouting.

The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL draft, which begins June 27.

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NHL Entry Draft
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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl | jvogl@buffnews.com

About Sabres Edge


Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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